The last 5 km of the route to Marriner’s Falls is a gravel road. From the car park it is a 1.7 km walk along the river.
The walk is initially through a grassy track kept mown by a herd of cows, but as you get nearer to the falls, the track
becomes quite muddy, even in summer. There are 8 creek crossings that you can rock hop if you can keep your balance,
otherwise expect to get your feet wet up to your ankles. You may also notice the native fish darting in the water as you cross the stream.
The falls are around 15 m wide and 2 m across with a continuous but not torrential stream of water that exits
through a small cut gorge at one end. There are near vertical rock walls on all sides that create a cathedral-like
atmosphere. The walls are covered in lush green ferns and moss. This is a beautiful little grotto with a relaxing pool
that is up to 1 m deep and big enough to float in. It is very clean and there are lots of fallen logs and rocks to sit on.
Direct sunlight into the alcove only occurs in the middle of the day. When the sun is shining there is no natural shade,
so bring a sunhat.
The walk to the falls was closed by the managing authority in 2011 due to falling trees. One tourist was injured from a tree fall in 2008
and the managing authority has publicly stated that tree falls often occur along the track.
The closure occurred after I last visited.
I definitely do not want people to be injured while visiting swimming holes, but personally I do not see the risk being any different to
walking through the bush, which is what you might have to do to reach this swimming hole in the future.
A local woman with cancer walked
the track in 2014
in spite of the closure, and managed to make the trek. Parks Victoria have now excised any references to Marriner's Falls
in their online publications, so don't expect to find its location on their park maps anymore.
This swimming hole was de-listed from my top 50 in Victoria for the latest edition of the guide because of the closed access track.
Two other swimming holes in or adjacent to the Great Otway National Park did make it into the top 50, so if you are looking for swimming holes
in this area that you can access, grab a copy of the guide to
Freshwater Swimming Holes in Victoria.
Essential Information Before You Go:
Location: Barham River Road, 12 km inland from Apollo Bay and 190 km (approx. 2.5 hr
drive) south west of the Melbourne CBD.
Getting there: Follow the sometimes confusing signs from Apollo Bay. A map from the visitor
centre in Apollo Bay is recommended. From the visitor centre, keep driving through town and
turn right up Gambier St, then left onto Barham River Rd, which you follow to the very end to
reach the car park for the start of the (now closed) walk to the falls. Apollo Bay is located along the Great
Facilities: Car park
Entrance fee: None
Water temperature: Mild
Water clarity: Clear
Under foot: Pebbles
Maximum water depth: Less than 1 metre
Minimum swimming proficiency required: Beginners
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: No cats or dogs. Access track to the falls is closed.
Sun shade: Limited to no shade available
Opening times: The falls are always open but the access track is permanently closed
Wheelchair access: None
Managing authority: Parks Victoria
Nearby attractions: Apollo Bay surf beach
Before you head out, make sure to read the
swimming safety information.
The marker indicates the approximate location of the car park at the start of the walking trail.
If you would like to leave a comment about this swimming hole, please fill in the comment box below. I'm particularly interested in hearing from
anyone who has walked along the access track since the track closure.
© Brad Neal 2016. All rights reserved. This work is not to be sampled,
copied, modified, adapted or reused for commercial purposes without the written consent of the author.